Virtual Reality Technologies in the Classroom

By Olga Scrivner, Cameron Buckley and Nitocris Perez

Virtual reality has a great potential as an educational tool in classroom settings. By adding a spatial dimension to the learning environment, this technology makes it possible to introduce three-dimensional authentic experiences to students without leaving a classroom. The use of these technologies in education, however, remains limited due to technological and methodological challenges. In this workshop, we will introduce a user-friendly methodology for creating VR classroom materials. This method consists of videos recorded with 360-degree camera and converted via youtube into VR format. Participants will be provided with a set of Google cardboard viewers (two participants per a viewer) and instructions how to upload and prepare videos for VR use. Using their mobile devices attendees will experience a short authentic video, converted to VR format prior workshop, as the conversion time may take up to an hour. We will also demonstrate our VR experiment in a language classroom. In addition to VR conversion, we augmented language videos using Unity 5. By adding additional layers with audio and quizzes, these videos offer more options for classroom activities and evaluation.

Workshop Details: First we will introduce participants to the hardware and software required to create and use VR, namely 360 kodak camera, VR viewers, and conversion process. The initial demo will expose participants to the complete process of making a panoramic video, uploading to youtube, converting, and viewing it as a VR video. In the second part of the workshop, each group of participants (two per a group) will select and view videos from youtube. Finally, we will demonstrate augmented videos created with Unity and discuss best practices of using VR in classroom.

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